And we’re back! Back to a normal week of action, which has pros and cons. This week’s Saturday main slate on DraftKings will be a high scoring one; with many pricing errors, there is value to be had everywhere. This week is the perfect time to maneuver the chalk. Let’s get into it…
The guy I’ll probably be targeting the most this weekend is Tyler Buchner ($6,000), the dual-threat quarterback from Notre Dame. With a mid-tier price tag and likely huge usage on the ground, it’s hard not to use a lot of him when Vegas projects Notre Dame to score in the mid-30s.
After my first few turns of the optimizer, it really became apparent that my eggs were in the Buchner basket pretty heavy, and then a huge mix of guys around 15-20% ownership. The guy leading the charge most times was Donovan Smith ($7,700). His price tag isn’t too crazy, the game script/pace should be amazing against Houston, and the Texas Tech offense proved to be incredibly efficient and deadly last week. If Sean Clifford ($7,300) isn’t too banged up, he’s a good play against Ohio. They should win that one pretty big with extra days of rest/practice. Considering the options, I’d love to see Clifford come out with high ownership from the field and avoid that one. There’s a chance Penn State tries to establish the run and keep Clifford on his feet unscathed by the end of this one.
The return of Sam Hartman ($8,000) is awesome for many reasons, one of which is the matchup against Vanderbilt. This one could be an excellent game stack, with it being a potentially high-scoring affair and two dynamic quarterbacks (Mike Wright being the other). Wake’s defense has shown to be really bad the last few years, and Hartman will be ready in this one.
Hendon Hooker ($7,800) has to be considered the safest play on the board this weekend against Pitt. With an implied team total sitting in the mid-30s, Hooker will have plenty of opportunities to have a huge game. He was great last week and is a great mix of rushing and passing usage in this Heupel offense.
Brennan Armstrong ($6,300) showed the same ability to have a huge game with his 100-yard rushing performance last week against Richmond. I certainly don’t expect that week in and out, but I expect around ten carries and 30+ passing attempts weekly from the southpaw. Against Illinois, he should have a great game and has plenty of stacking options.
There are a ton of running backs to love, but the one I think you have to ride the wave with the rest of America at chalky ownership is Braelon Allen ($7,000). Wisconsin can’t do anything but run; they love hammering their RB1 historically and are in a great matchup against Washington State. His price could be in the mid-$8,000s and I’d still recommend him. Last week, the Devon Achane ($6,800) experience was quite the thrill, and here I am asking for it again. He’s extremely talented, but his offensive line looked pretty rough in what should have been a cake matchup. Against App State, I would usually be worried about something like that, but then again, App State just gave up another UNC touchdown as I wrote this…
Did anyone think we’d be hammering Chase Brown ($6,400) in the first three weeks of 2022? I sure didn’t, but with his insane usage (55 of 95 team carries in the first two games), it’s hard not to love him in a game where they are slight favorites. Like Wisconsin, Illinois has to have Brown be successful in winning, and you know they’re well aware of that.
Ray Davis ($5,700) is a guy I think could slip through the cracks against Wake Forest and turn out to be a fantastic play. He had 20 carries last week and three receptions, both encouraging numbers. There’s a chance both of his backups will be out in this matchup, which would greatly ensure high usage.
Some cheaper options include Jirehl Brock ($4,300), Brandon Campbell ($4,700), and Nakia Watson ($4,500). Brock and Watson have tough matchups but showed a high percentage of the team carries last week; while Campbell projects only about 35% of carries in this one, the matchup is much better with plenty of upside. If he sees more usage, then we can fairly project.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
It’s DFS tight end season y’all! Michael Mayer ($3,900) and Jaheim Bell ($3,500) are both highly viable options going into this slate. Mayer will see an insane amount of targets due to two things: comfort between Buchner and Mayer and so many hurt Notre Dame receivers. For Bell, his usage on the ground (7/39/0) and through the air (4/18/0) makes him great to consider. I suspect we start to see Bell become a touchdown machine as South Carolina continues to figure out how they want to use him this season.
Since we’re talking cheap options, I’ll give you one other $3k option to strongly consider, Lavel Davis Jr. ($3,500). Davis was a touchdown machine two seasons ago and then missed last season due to injury. There are a lot of mouths to feed in this UVA offense, but Davis scored early last week and ended up with a 4/89/1 stat line against Richmond. He’s a little more boom or bust than Bell and Mayer but has the upside for 100+ yards and two touchdowns.
Speaking of two touchdowns, Nathaniel Dell ($6,000) had an outstanding performance last weekend against UTSA. That offense took a minute to get rolling, but they came together in the win. Dell is a 30%+ usage guy in the passing game, and that’s why he will be one of my top receivers to use this weekend with that price tag.
Mitchell Tinsley ($5,700) saw insane usage last week (11 targets – 28% of targets), and while I don’t see that raw number happen again due to matchup, he still projects for 9 in a great matchup against Ohio. It’ll be hard to fade Tinsley, but this might be a good zig opportunity like with Clifford. Penn State might not need to throw it but 20 times to beat Ohio and if that’s the case, we’re likely only seeing five or six targets to Tinsley max.
The top two Texas Tech receivers for me are Jerand Bradley ($5,000) and Myles Price ($7,000), so I love them against Houston. That should be a fun game all the way around. Both guys were at the top regarding snaps played by receivers (first and second) and targets (first and third). I still believe Price is the top guy in this passing attack, and I am hoping his lack of production last week in the blowout win against Murray State keeps people off of him on Saturday.
One final receiver to consider today is Cedric Tillman ($7,300). Due to all of the options around him and his price tag, he shouldn’t be too highly owned. I’ve already talked about how Hooker is an excellent option against Pitt, and Tillman is the same thing for me. Tillman had an excellent game last week regarding targets (seven) and receptions (six); he didn’t come away with a touchdown or big yardage play. If you watched that game, you could tell Tennessee was trying to get rolling in preparation for this one but also wanted to see what else they had at receiver, rotating in guys reasonably early.