Who said you had to wait until September 9th for some football on Thursday? Not I! This week we’ve got a few teams ranked in the Top 25, as well as some high-powered offenses on the Thursday short slate. You’re going to want to create a DFS lineup or two on DraftKings.
Boise State @ UCF (-5.5) (O/U 68.5)
Sophomore QB, Hank Bachmeier ($6500) has been named the starter for Week 1. He is a sneaky play at a nice discount as I can see Boise State falling behind early and having to rely on Bachmeier’s arm to make a comeback. If that does happen, I expect junior WR, Khalil Shakir ($6900) to eat as he’s one of their most talented and skilled players and the clear alpha in the receiver room.
UCF will be led by new Head Coach, Gus Malzahn who spent the last eight seasons at Auburn. This is a good thing for QB, Dillon Gabriel ($9100) as Auburn averaged more than 30 points per game in six of the eight seasons while there. He doesn’t shy away from being creative offensively and he has the QB to do so. Gabriel is known to sling it all over the field while also being efficient. Despite only playing in 9 games last year, he still managed to throw for 3,570 yards which was the 5th highest in college football. His 30/4 TD to INT ratio underscores his efficiency. This game may be the best stack of the evening as junior WR, Jaylon Robinson ($8600) should have a big game at home. Robinson managed to eclipse over 100 receiving yards in six games last season and will be Gabriel’s primary target.
USF @ NC State (-18.5) (O/U 59)
After going on an 8-game losing streak with their only win coming against The Citadel, it is safe to say that I will be fading every single USF player on this slate. After all, why just give money away?!
Coming into Week 1 with the second highest spread at 18.5, I look for NC State to feast at home against a USF team that showed no signs of being competitive last year. Sophomore QB, Devin Leary ($6800) will be the starter as he returns from a season-ending foot injury he sustained last October. Leary may be a value on this slate as long as senior WR, Emeka Emezie ($6500) is able to go after being out most of August with an undisclosed injury. Keep an eye out for news on Emezie as he led NC State with 47 receptions for 738 receiving yards last season.
ECU @ Appalachian State (-10) (O/U 56)
I don’t see a lot of points being put up in this game with a point total set at 56. The script may benefit RB, Rahjai Harris ($6600), East Carolina’s leading rusher last season. Harris earned American Athletic Conference Rookie-of-the-Year and first-team all-league honors as a true freshman. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry in eight games while starting in five of those contests.
The last game that RB, Camerun Peoples ($6900) played in 2020 was against North Texas in the Myrtle Beach Bowl. If you’re new to college football, check out this stat line: 22-317-5 (yes, in one game)! Look for him to have another big game in Week 1, as he should be the focal point of the offense this season. The opening depth chart has the dreaded “OR” at RB, but Peoples should eat.
Ohio St. (-14) @ MINN (O/U 63)
We’ve got some action in the Big Ten already! 14th ranked Ohio St. is coming off an undefeated regular season where they reached the National Championship, losing to Alabama 52-24. Ryan Day enters his 3rd season as Head Coach with redshirt freshman QB, C.J. Stroud ($8000) as the starter. Stroud was one of the top quarterback recruits in the class of 2020. With his arm strength he should be able to get the ball to senior WR, Chris Olave ($6700) often. Olave and Garrett Wilson ($7500) form one of the best WR duos on the country. They will look to outdo each other each and every week. Redshirt sophomore, RB Master Teague III ($6700) will finally get his chance as the starter headed into Week 1, but by most accounts his grasp on the lead role is tenuous.
On the other side of Master Teague, you have senior RB, Mohamed Ibrahim ($8600) looking to cement his status as one of the top running backs in the country. He’ll have a a tough task against OSU’s front seven but Minnesota is committed to the ground game. Ibrahim rushed for 1,076 yards on 201 carries to go along with 15 TDs in 2020.
Bowling Green @ Tennessee (-35.5) (O/U 61)
This is the 2nd biggest spread of the Thursday night slate in Week 1. Michigan transfer QB, Joe Milton III ($8300) should have a field day at home against Bowling Green. Milton possesses a big arm and sneaky mobility. He should be able to connect effortlessly with speedy WR, Jalin Hyatt ($7100) as this game might be out of reach by the start of the 3rd quarter.
Southern Utah @ Arizona State
There’s no line for this game as the books probably can’t make it high enough after we saw exactly who Southern Utah is against San Jose State. This week won’t get any better when they go up against a Top 25 team with NFL caliber players and coaches on the other side.
You can create a favorable stack for this matchup. Junior QB, Jayden Daniels ($8500) should get the job done in the air as well as on the ground. Be on the lookout for plenty of completions but the receiving corps is deep and unsettled. According to the depth chart, starting Z receiver Johnny Wilson ($6600) is the only one without an “OR” designation. He is a 6’7″ 230 pound monster that looks like a create-a-player. The X position shows Bryan Thompson ($7300) in an “OR” situation with minimum salary Andre Johnson ($3000). Finally, the slot is split between Ricky Pearsall ($4600) and L.V. Bunkley-Shelton ($3900).
In the backfield we have yet another “OR” or choose from. Second year beast DeaMonte Trayanum ($5900) joins junior college transfer Rachaad White ($7000) once again. Both backs are talented and are likely to split the work all season. There will be points scored as this game will surely be a stat stuffer but the team didn’t do us any favors with the depth chart to start off the 2021 season.