DFS CFB Playbook: Week 0
Mark Taylor pores over all of the statistics, splits and matchups to uncover the very best DFS CFB players for this weeks contests
We welcomed back college football to DraftKings and the DFS world earlier today and we’ll jump right in with a three-game slate - featuring five of six teams - for our first DFS CFB Playbook since 2016. It feels good to be back covering this great sport and helping you find the best plays to build your DFS lineups and CASH in.
Quickly, one of the audibles that DK called on us here is adding a “super flex” position which allows you to play two quarterbacks in your eight-man roster. No kickers. No defenses. We’ll construct a team with 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 Flex (RB/WR) and 1 S-Flex (QB/RB/WR). This allows for a lot of flexibility and it being a PPR format - same scoring as the NFL version of the game - we may need to be looking to rack up the catches. If we can identify those values at the RB and WR position, we could fit in a second quarterback.
In this short slate, there are only five teams to choose from and only one really solid offensive option. Colorado State is hosting Hawai’i and they have the best chance to put up points. New Mexico State has a solid offensive profile, but are going up against a tough Wyoming defense. Rice is interesting because they get FCS Prairie View. This will be the only time we’ll see Rice players even as an option in a Playbook this year because they are not a great offensive team.
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Let’s get it:
QB K.J. Carta-Samuels - Colorado State (vs. Hawai’i)
DK Salary: $10,800
Carta-Samuels is the highest priced player on the slate and for good reason. He’s the best player in the slate - by a good margin. Sure, you can get cute and leave him off, but, don’t expect a great result. Carta-Samuels is a transfer from Washington, where he just couldn’t unseat Jake Browning - which is not an indictment. The guy can play. He has plenty of offensive weaponry around him and a head coach in Mike Bobo (assuming he’s healthy enough to be on the sidelines) who knows how to get the most from his quarterbacks. Expect a big one. Top play.
QB Matt Romero - New Mexico State (vs. Wyoming)
DK Salary: $7,500
There question marks surrounding the other quarterbacks in this slate, making Romero one of the few plays in the slate. He beat out Nick Jeanty and takes the reigns of a program that threw the ball 66% of the time last year, good for third most in all of FBS. Make no mistake, there will be plenty of volume in this one. It was his athleticism and ability to maneuver in tight spots that helped separate him in the competition. Also, HC Doug Martin said that they want to be a one-QB program so there shouldn’t be a timeshare. The problem: that Wyoming defense. They get eight starters back from a team that allowed just 17.5 PPG last year.
QB Tyler Vander Waal - Wyoming (vs. New Mexico State)
DK Salary: $6,100
With both Rice and Hawai’i holding back on naming a starting quarterback for this week; it leaves Josh Allen’s replacement as the only other true option in this slate. New Mexico State didn’t do much to stop the pass last year so Vander Waal could see a few opportunities. Keep in mind, even with a top NFL draft pick Allen running the offense, this was an underwhelming group. Don’t expect too much, but he’s the cheapest of the options.
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RB Izzy Matthews - Colorado State (vs. Hawai’i)
DK Salary: $7,200
Matthews is now the featured runner in this Colorado State backfield after a few years of taking a backseat to Dayln Dawkins. He still managed 618 yards and eight scores a year ago and was the short-yardage option. With some depth questions behind him and injuries/suspensions to both Rashaad Boddie and Marvin Kinsey, he should see a healthy share against a poor Hawai’i defense.
RB Jason Huntley - New Mexico State (vs. Wyoming)
DK Salary: $8,200
Nobody is happier to see Larry Rose III graduate than this guy. Huntley has been stuck behind for a couple of years now. After averaging 6.0 yards per carry on 70 totes last year, Huntley is ready for the lead back job. Now, we mentioned how much NMSU throws the ball, so there won’t be many 25+ carry days and Wyoming is stout - especially against the run. The opportunities are there and he could find the end zone, but we aren’t falling in love with this option.
RB Nico Evans - Wyoming (vs. New Mexico State)
DK Salary: $6,000
Evans won the job away from Kellen Overstreet, who is also banged up so we should see plenty of him in this one. Trey Woods, the leading returning rusher from the 2017 squad moved to the defensive side of the ball and the patience has paid off for Evans - a fifth year Senior. All of that is find and dandy, but Wyoming has a poor offensive line and not much is expected from the running game as a whole. The price is depressed enough to give him a go in some GPP lineups with the chance for a score.
RB Marcus McElroy - Colorado State (vs. Hawai’i)
DK Salary: $3,000
As mentioned above in the Matthews write-up that there is some question marks behind the bellcow. It appears that Marcus McElroy will be the primary backup in this one and could see a decent amount of exposure. That could lead to great things as we expect the Rams offense to soar in this one. He’s the minimum, so we’ll get some nice roster flexibility by playing him.
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WR John Ursua - Hawai’i (vs. Colorado State)
DK Salary: $10,300
The top wide receiver in the slate is Ursua who has recovered from an injury that sidelined him after five games a year ago. Prior to that injury against San Jose State, he was torching opponents to the tune of 47 grabs for 667 yards and five scores. Imagine that line following a full, healthy season! Granted, that came with Dru Brown at QB who has since transferred to Oklahoma State and there are some questions as to who will take the snaps for the Warriors this year. Regardless, this guys is a prime talent. He’s overpriced though and wouldn’t be my top option because of that price tag.
WR Olabisi Johnson - Colorado State (vs. Hawai’i)
DK Salary: $8,700
Johnson is the No. 1 in the best offense in the slate. That’s usually enough to warrant a play. The fact that he’s a full $1,600 cheaper than Ursua is enough to slot him as my first WR in the lineup. There is plenty of production to be had with Michael Gallup and his 100 grabs for 1,400+ yards off to the Dallas Cowboys. Johnson was tied for 2nd with “just” 41 for 595 and two scores. He’ll assume the No.1 role and should develop a nice chemistry with new QB Carta-Samuels. A solid play.
WR Warren Jackson - Colorado State (vs. Hawai’i)
DK Salary: $6,400
Sure, Johnson may be first on the depth chart, but Warren Jackson has turned heads in camp. He’s just $6,400 and is the best value play at the position. He’s just a sophomore and pulled in just 15 catches a year ago. Though, Gallup wasn’t sharing very well. In season-long drafts, we are seeing Jackson shooting up boards and should have a nice coming out party on Saturday night in Fort Collins. You’ll want to be a part of that.
WR Austin Conway - Wyoming (vs. New Mexico State)
DK Salary: $7,000
We can’t completely ignore the No. 1 option at Wyoming here. Though he’s more of a possession receiver with just a 9.00 yards per catch a year ago, he should be looked at early and often. He could rack up 5-7 catches and give a decent return.
WR Aaron Cephus - Rice (vs. Prairie View)
DK Salary: $6,800
Sure, we don’t know who will be throwing it, but we know this guy will be the top target and against an FCS foe, that could mean big things. A freshman last year, he led the Owls in catches with just 25. THough, he turned that into 622 yards (24.8 YPC!) and five scores. He’s a deep threat and can get loose. A GPP play for sure.
WR Caleb Mills - New Mexico State (vs. Wyoming)
DK Salary: $3,000
Finally, the lesser known of the receivers in this one is JUCO transfer Mills, who is 6’5” and can become an instant red zone threat. He may not haul in many, but we know the Aggies will toss it around the yard. He will cost the minimum and can provide a great flexibility to load up on the bigger names playing earlier in the night.
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