We’re back at it for another year of DFS action. Week Zero emerges to slake our DFS thirst after wandering through the oasis that is the offseason. When playing College Football DFS, high-scoring lineups are the name of the game. Catching some positive correlation within your lineup with the right stack of players can catapult you to the top of the leaderboard. Here are four of my favorite stacking options for this Saturday on DraftKings.
Kurtis Rourke ($5,500) – Sam Wiglusz ($7,100)
In the most blatant pricing error of the slate, DraftKings has severely underpriced QB Kurtis Rourke. In the 11 games Rourke played last season, he averaged 24.95 fantasy points per game with DraftKings scoring.
At first blush, it seems like this pricing is due to the fact that Rourke is returning from injury and that San Diego State’s defense has a reputation of being towards the top of the nation in production. However, we’ve heard that Rourke has been ahead of schedule all offseason on his recovery/return status, and the Aztecs return only 57.91% of last year’s production and have some legitimate question marks on their defensive line. Don’t mishear me; San Diego State’s defense will still likely be a top-half defense in the nation. However, drawing a prolific Ohio offense that returns 86.78% of their offensive production is a matchup in which I don’t believe they will have a firm upper hand as a unit.
In seven of Wiglusz’s eleven games with Rourke at QB in 2022, he had at least six receptions and 69 yards. With a floor of around 13 points, Wiglusz is one of the safest options to play at WR this week (if not the single safest option). He also had four multi-TD games last season and three games in which he eclipsed 100 yards receiving. You’re paying up for his salary, but the combination of a safe floor and a high ceiling is exactly the reason you would want to pay a bit more at the position.
Louisiana Tech (-10.0)
Hank Bachmeier ($5,800) – Smoke Harris ($6,600) – Cyrus Allen ($5,700)
Last season, Florida International ranked 96th in the nation in passing yards allowed, giving up an average of 252.1 yards per game. Louisiana Tech enters year two of Sonny Cumbie’s tenure as head coach, and with it brings the expectation of running his Air Raid scheme with enhanced proficiency.
The Bulldogs bring in former Boise State QB Hank Bachmeier to lead the offense, and while Bachmeier is a relatively uninspired name, he brings with him three-plus seasons of starting experience and the ability to lead a top-35 passing attack (see: Boise 2021). Coming up against this FIU Panthers defense, I fully believe Bachmeier has the ability to pilot a productive offense and support multiple receivers.
Both Smoke Harris and Cyrus Allen have received a bit of buzz this offseason and should enter the game as Louisiana Tech’s WR1 and WR2, respectively. Last season, those positions received a combined 47.7% of total team targets (and 71.42% of their total receiving touchdowns). The Bulldogs have the third-highest team total on the slate (34.5) but have a more concentrated target distribution than USC (46.75) and a more prolific passing attack than Vanderbilt (36.5). Don’t sleep on this passing attack for a Week Zero boost to your lineups.
Brayden Schager ($6,700) – Tylan Hines ($4,700) – Jonah Panoke ($5,400)
Hawaii enters Week Zero as the second biggest underdog on this slate (+18.0) behind San Jose State (+30.0). Because of this, it is a fairly safe assumption to expect them to air it out in hopes of keeping pace and remaining in the game against Vanderbilt. The known quantities in this passing attack don’t extend much further than that.
However, Tylan Hines is projected to fill a hybrid RB/WR role similar to that of Calvin Turner. Catching dump-off throws in this Run and Shoot offense could prove very lucrative in DraftKings contests, and with his salary staying in such a reasonable range, there’s little reason not to consider Hines a quality floor play with the potential for much more if Hawaii exceeds Vegas’ expectations as far as their offensive production.
The Rainbow Warriors have an implied team total of only 18.5 this Saturday, so the ceiling for any of their weapons remains questionable at best. Though if you’re expecting marked improvement from last year, Jonah Panoke is another intriguing option at another mid-level price. Panoke is the leading returning receiver in this offense and has had a full offseason to build on his rapport with Schager, so he’s likely the safest play at WR.
USC (-30.0) / San Jose State
Caleb Williams ($9,900) – Mario Williams ($7,200) – Chevan Cordeiro ($6,300) – Justin Lockhart* ($4,800)
College Football DFS is all about finding the shootouts and stacking accordingly. While Vegas doesn’t seem to think that this will be much of a shootout, USC’s defense proved to be leaky at best in 2022. If you have any doubts about their prowess heading into this year, the Spartan offense of San Jose State should be a quality litmus test for the Trojans.
Caleb Williams is undoubtedly worth the high price tag of $9,900 this week as he looks to build his campaign to repeat as Heisman winner in 2023. However, pinning down his leading WR poses a bit of a challenge. Mario Williams comes into this season as the second-leading returning receiver for USC and projects to be a starter along with Dorian Singer, Tahj Washington, and Brenden Rice.
Washington might be a more secure play if there is confirmation that he’s healthy and back in practice with the team. However, over the last few weeks, his participation in team practices has been limited. Singer possesses a higher risk-reward option to pair with Williams, but his utilization and target share remain to be seen for 2023.
On the run-back side, San Jose State returns Justin Lockhart, who should be elevated to the WR1 role that Elijah Cooks held last season, though he was spotted two weeks ago with his arm in a cast. This stack, of course, assumes his health. Should he be unable to go, Charles Ross and Nick Nash would see an elevated role and would be worth consideration at a slight discount, but without Lockhart, this offense becomes much less appealing.